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Just one of the tourists – South Korean President visits Angkor Wat

The Thaiger & The Nation

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Just one of the tourists – South Korean President visits Angkor Wat | The Thaiger

PHOTO: Yonhap News

South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in put on his tourist clothes yesterday and roaming around with thousands of other tourists at Angkor Wat in Siem Reap. The ruins attract millions of visitors each year, making the ruins in Siem Reap province Cambodia’s most popular tourist destination.

The world heritage site contains the remains of different capitals of the Khmer Empire, dating from the 9th to the 15th centuries.

Moon walked around the site for two hours at the site, posing for photos with officials and pausing to enjoy a coconut juice.

He is the first South Korean president to make a state visit to Cambodia in 10 years.

South Korea is one of Cambodia’s biggest investors and source of tourists and the President’s presence also delighted South Korean travellers, who clapped and shook his hand.

The appearance caps a three-day trip during which Moon met with Cambodian leader Hun Sen in the capital Phnom Penh on Friday.

SOURCE: AFP | Yonhap

Just one of the tourists - South Korean President visits Angkor Wat | News by The Thaiger



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Entertainment

BTS launch their new album on April 12, appear on Saturday Night Live the next day. Why this matters.

The Thaiger & The Nation

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BTS launch their new album on April 12, appear on Saturday Night Live the next day. Why this matters. | The Thaiger

The music business is about to have another one of those seismic shifts in the next month as the power of the music business continues to dribble away from western record company influences to a more democratic, social media-driven, business model.

In the past two years, mainly, a small South Korean production house has re-tooled the massive world music business (and it is, first and foremost a ‘business’) with one product.

Bangtan Sonyeondan, better know around the world simply as BTS.

The seven members of the K-Pop phenomenon (and the word phenomenon is aptly applied in this case) actually debuted in 2013 after forming originally in 2011, but they’re hardly an overnight success with real struggles threatening their success along the way. The BTS that writes, produces and performs in 2019 is a slick, highly professional performance and business unit that has, mostly by design, completely rejigged the fatally-wounded ‘old’ music business model. From a try-hard hip hop band to world-class music artists is a fascinating journey in the annals of the modern music business.

Also consider they’ve done this singing, mostly, in Korean.

Whilst the record companies continue to roll out the ‘oldies’ with another Greatest Hits compilation, or interpret their 70s and 80s heroes on the big screen (another guarantee to boost flagging music sales and downloads), there is some light at the end of the music tunnel which gives us hope of some great tunes ahead.

From first impressions the septet of BTS are just another fresh-faced boyband with catchy hooks, hair tosses and screaming fans – we’ve seen it all before, right? Except that they’re South Korean in a white-washed music world.

But behind the facade is some raw talent, a highly skilled back-room and the use of social media as a jack-hammer, not just a tool. After charting two of their albums at #1 in the Billboard Hot 200 last year, a first for a Korean band, appearances on the American Music Awards, the Grammies, Ellen, all the popular Tonight Shows, the front cover of TIME and a series of sell-out concerts around the US, the seven young men are about to take the next big step, and it will be big.

Days after BTS announcing their forthcoming Map of the Soul: Persona album coming April 12, they also announced they are appearing on SNL, Saturday Night Live, (NOT Donald Trump’s favorite TV show) the day after.

Saturday Night Live announced that BTS will make their musical debut with Emma Stone, a self-declared K-pop fan, on the April 13 episode.

SNL is a highly coveted stage for any performer and has the ability to bring an artist to new heights of their career. A pre-fame Adele performing in a 2008 episode went on to the highest-rated episode in 14 years and sent her 19 album to new highs on the charts.

BTS, although still in their early to mid-20s, are already seasoned live and television performers. There would be more BTS live YouTube clips on the net than any other performer, period. They know the performance craft and how to play an audience. The sales of their music speaks for itself, their YouTube click numbers are astonishing. Type ‘BTS’ into Google and you get 490,000,000 results!

BTS launch their new album on April 12, appear on Saturday Night Live the next day. Why this matters. | News by The Thaiger

And that’s part of the magic formula that separates them from just about every previous band. Whilst using social media is nothing new, BTS has amassed an enormous world-wide audience of music downloaders, ticket and merchandise buyers and sheer screaming hordes beyond anything previously attainable. And there’s a lot more to come as the fan base spreads out of Asia into the rest of the world.

Of course it’s easy to say the band came along at the right time, given the rise and rise in social media’s impact on our lives. But they’ve been first band to really harness the power in ways most other bands never even thought about.

Their fanbase is called ‘Army’, an appropriate name given the onslaught on music fandom around the globe. That the enormous fanbase started in Asia and is spreading westward is something we’ve not seen before.

BTS also deliver a different message aimed squarely at their peers and not with the same gloss and sheen of most other K-Pop. It’s sometimes raw, always relevant, reflecting their own battles and scars as young people growing up in a complex world. They cry, they share their fears, they argue on their videos, they’re humble – it’s very different.

The BTS-on-SNL program will be, easily, the biggest audience the show will EVER have, not by a little, by a LOT. That’s quite an easy prediction given BTS’s chart history, their YouTube viewer numbers, their growing appeal and the sell-out concerts, around the world.

For a crash course in BTS, check out this video (below). There are also thousands, yes thousands, of other videos apart from their award-winning music videos as well. Such is the power of Army, the power of social media, the power of good music well performed, and the hope that cream always, eventually, rises to the top.

The Saturday Night Live episode airs in the US on April 13.

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Business

Facebook won’t build data centres in countries with bad human rights records, except Singapore

Kritsada Mueanhawong

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Facebook won’t build data centres in countries with bad human rights records, except Singapore | The Thaiger

Mark Zuckerberg promised in a lengthy blog post that the company wouldn’t build data centres in countries with poor human rights.

But he chose to ignore Singapore’s track record in human rights, declaring the city-state home to Facebook’s first data center in Asia to “serve everyone.”

“As we build our infrastructure around the world, we’ve chosen not to build data centres in countries that have a track record of violating human rights like privacy or freedom of expression,” said Mark Zuckerberg.

“If there are two things Singapore is known for, it’s that there’s no privacy nor freedom of expression,” according to Zach Whittaker of TechCrunch.

For all its glitz and economic success, Singapore’s human rights record falls far below internationally recognised norms.

The state, with a population of five million, consistently falls close to the bottom in worldwide rankings by rights groups for its oppressive laws against freedom of speech, limited rights to privacy under its expanding surveillance system, horrendous treatment of those in the LGBT community along with suppressed media freedom and threats of defamation lawsuits by the government.

Reporters Without Borders said Singapore has an “intolerant government,” and Human Rights Watch called some of the country’s more restrictive laws “draconian.”

The government in Singapore retains broad powers to limit citizens’ rights and to inhibit political opposition. In 2018, Singapore was ranked 151th out of 180 nations by Reporters Without Borders in the Worldwide Press Freedom Index. (Thailand ranked 140th in the same report)

Responding to criticism of Facebook’s decision to set up data centres in the Asian city-state, Facebook rolled out a non-answer.

“Deciding where to locate a new data centre is a multi-year process that considers dozens of different factors, including access to renewable energy, connectivity, and a strong local talent pool,” said Facebook spokesperson Jennifer Hakes.

“An essential factor, however, is ensuring that we can protect any user data stored in the facility.”

Ironically, Facebook is often a target for Singapore’s government to crack down on vocal opponents of its draconian laws. Additionally ironic is the Singapore government’s heavy use of local social media as a means of spreading its news and propaganda.

Google, Amazon, Microsoft, Linode, DigitalOcean and OVH all have data centres located in Singapore.

SOURCE: TechCrunch

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Business

Will Asian airlines allow female flight attendants to leave the make up and tight clothes at home?

Kritsada Mueanhawong

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Will Asian airlines allow female flight attendants to leave the make up and tight clothes at home? | The Thaiger

Some regional airlines, principally AirAsia and Vietnam’s VietJet Air are being criticised for putting young female flight attendants in tight-fitting clothes or revealing outfits either on the job or in promotional videos.

The local online ‘outrage’ follows an announcement this week that Britain’s Virgin Atlantic has dropped a requirement that female flight attendants wear makeup. This sees Virgin join other major carriers that have eased their dress and grooming requirements after complaints about turning female employees into sex objects.

Just over a year ago, two Malaysian ruling party lawmakers chided the homegrown low-cost airlines AirAsia and Firefly for dressing their stewardesses in uniforms that are “too revealing”.

Senator Abdullah Mat Yasim, a division chief of the, then, ruling Umno party, said in Parliament the fitted attire of AirAsia’s and Firefly’s female flight attendants can “arouse passengers”, the New Straits Times reported.

VietJet took matters a step further with some racy promotions and select flights featuring bikini-clad flight hostesses. The airline is owned by a woman who hasn’t been afraid of using ‘sex’ to help launch the Vietnamese budget airline.

Will Asian airlines allow female flight attendants to leave the make up and tight clothes at home? | News by The Thaiger

Meanwhile, Virgin Atlantic announced this week that female cabin crew members can work without wearing makeup. If they want to keep using lipstick and foundation, they must stick to an approved palette of shades.

A Virgin airline executive said the changes – which also include making it easier for women to wear pants over Virgin’s familiar red skirts – came after listening to employees.

“Not only do the new guidelines offer an increased level of comfort, they also provide our team with more choice on how they want to express themselves at work,” Virgin Atlantic Executive Vice President Mark Anderson said in a statement.

Objectification of women is still an issue at U.S. carriers. Last year, a US flight attendant union said its survey indicated that nearly two-thirds of U.S. flight attendants suffered harassment during their careers, ranging from suggestive comments to groping.

Last month, a separate union that represents American Airlines cabin crews objected to a video showing people dressed as flight attendants performing a musical number that suggested American uses sex appeal to attract high-paying passengers. The airline said it had no involvement in the skit.

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